Becky Hammon is one of the hottest names on the coaching circuit. The Washington Wizards are looking for a new head coach after moving on from Scott Brooks following five pedestrian seasons in the nation’s capital.
There’s numerous reasons why Hammon, 44, makes sense as a head coach in the NBA. She’s served under the legendary Gregg Popovich in San Antonio over the past seven seasons, cultivating relationships with a ton of players in the process. She just recently took on a lead assistant role for Pop after Tim Duncan’s resignation.
Outside of Becky Hammon breaking the proverbial glass ceiling as the first female head coach in North American professional sports, she’s qualified. In particular, Hammon is a great fit for the Washington Wizards. Here’s three reasons why starting with the obvious.
Washington Wizards promise “inclusive” head coach search
“(General manager Tommy) Sheppard promises a ‘very thorough, very diverse, very robust search.’ That indicates it will take time and could include a wide range of candidates,” Chase Hughes from NBC Sports Washington reported recently. “He also used the word ‘inclusive, which could suggest going beyond the traditional NBA head coaching norms, possibly to consider hiring the first woman head coach in NBA history.”
This coaching cycle has seen a number of women be brought up as potential candidates. In addition to Becky Hammon, that includes New Orleans Pelicans assistant Teresa Weatherspoon as well as women’s college basketball coaches Dawn Staley (South Carolina) and Kara Lawson (Duke).
Of that group, Hammon is the one who has now received play as a candidate around the NBA world for multiple cycles. It stands to reason that she’d be the one to make history.
Becky Hammon is a perfect fit with Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook
Hammon worked with star Kawhi Leonard in her first four seasons as a Spurs’ assistant coach. While Leonard’s tenure with San Antonio did not end swimmingly, this proved that she can handle the egos. That’s a necessity in today’s NBA climate.
Equally as important from a pure basketball standpoint, Hammon has helped out guards/wings up their games during her time in San Antonio. She’s worked directly with the likes of Dejounte Murray, Patty Mills, Keldon Johnson and Derrick White. None of these four players entered the NBA as well-known commodities. All of them have morphed into starter-caliber players.
The backdrop here for Washington is the fact that it needs to cater to Beal if the organization wants the star guard to remain in D.C. over the long-term. Given what we’ve heard from players who have been coached up by Becky Hammon, she seems to be a natural fit.
“The future is bright for her. I hope she sticks to it and doesn’t give up,” Dejounte Murray said back in December. “One day it may happen, or it may not happen. Who knows? But she is definitely on the right road, and I think everyone here appreciates her.”
Becky Hammon wouldn’t be a retread for the Washington Wizards
That’s a trap a team like the fledgling Wizards could fall into. Following a rare playoff appearance, the brass in D.C. might think that bringing in an experienced head coach makes the most sense. That has not been the case around the NBA recently. Just look at the failed one-year marriage between Stan Van Gundy and the New Orleans Pelicans as a prime example of this.
In fact, inexperienced head coaches have had a ton of recent success. Steve Nash’s first season with the Brooklyn Net could result in an NBA title. Taylor Jenkins led the Memphis Grizzlies to the playoffs this past season. Remember Steve Kerr with the Golden State Warriors? The common theme here is that a basketball expert like Becky Hammon, regardless of experience, can succeed out of the gate.